Why It Is More Blessed To Give Than To Receive
Thursday, January 5th, 2017
And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35b
When we give, we act as God does “God so loved the world that he gave His Only Begotten Son…” John 3:16 As God’s people, we should be givers, not only during the Christmas season but as a way of life.
In His final address to the Ephesian elders, Paul in Acts 20:33-38 reminded them one more time of his own example when he had been with them. His example of being free from greed and of working to provide for his own needs and even for the needs of his co-workers, demonstrated before them how they, too, should shepherd God’s flock. More than his own example, Paul told them to remember the word of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
By our fallen nature, we are all takers, not givers. However, by God’s sanctifying grace through our united faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, God wants us to grow to be givers.
Why are givers more blessed than all who receive? Our text explicitly reveals three reasons that givers are more blessed.
1. Givers Are Blessed Because They Are Freed From The Destruction Sin Of Greed Acts 20:33-35a
Perhaps Paul is contrasting himself with the false teachers that he has just warned them about, wolves who come in to feed on the flock rather than to feed the flock. Throughout the Bible, false teachers are denounced for being greedy and covetous. Isa 56:11; Jer 6:13; 1 Tim 6:5; Titus 1:11; 2 Pet 2:3; Jude 16. If a man is trying to fleece the flock, it erodes trust and undercuts the basis of any lasting spiritual ministry. The biblical principle is that we should offer ministry freely and those who are ministered should meet the needs of the one who is ministering. Gal 6:6 Greed is always easy to recognize in others yet not so easy to spot it in ourselves. Givers are blessed because they are freed from this sin that brings both temporal and eternal destruction. Paul was never wealthy but he demonstrated a lifestyle of giving.
2. Givers Are Blessed Because They Are Being Conformed To The Image Of The Lord Jesus Acts 20:35b
Jesus Himself is the embodiment of giving, in that He left the splendor and glory of Heaven to come to this earth, not as a mighty king but as a lowly baby of the stable in Bethlehem. He came to give Himself as the sacrifice for our sins through His baptism and death. Thus Paul would write, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor 8:9 It is important to recognize that no amount of giving or self sacrifice will get us into Heaven. Before we can give anything that pleases God, we must first receive God’s free gift of eternal life. We must come to God as a poor sinner, unable to pay the debt that we owe. Freely receive the forgiveness that Jesus has provided but at a great cost to Himself. Jesus’ baptism and death is the only satisfaction for our sins before the Holy God. Receiving God’s salvation in Christ is the starting point for becoming a giver because it is the starting point of being conformed in our character to the Lord Jesus.
3. Givers Are Blessed Because They Have Deep And Enduring Relationship With Others Acts 20:36-38
Paul had given himself and his material goods to see these men come to Christ and be built up in Him. They knew that he loved them like no one else. When it came time for Paul to depart from them for what they thought would be the last time, they broke out in loud, uncontrollable sobs. They fell on his neck and repeatedly kissed him. The scene that Luke portrays here shows the deep mutual love between Paul and these men. If Paul had been stingy or greedy or had tried to rip them off, this scene would never had taken place.
Givers are invariably people of faith because they have to trust in God to give away their money that they easily could spend on themselves. People of faith are people of prayer because it is through prayer that they receive from God’s bountiful supply. Paul probably prayed that God would meet their needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
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